Coming straight out of v.6 Paul now makes a serious yet spectacular point:
“Therefore do not be sharers with them, for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live like children of light — for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth — trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For the things they do in secret are shameful even to mention. But all things being exposed by the light are made visible. For everything made visible is light, and for this reason it says:
“Awake, O sleeper!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you!”
(Ephesians 5.7-14, NET)
Because of the liberal attitude towards sex that was (and is) present among many, the Lord through Paul calls His people to not be sharers with them. At one time in our lives, if we are honest, we most likely did share the relaxed and very common attitude towards sexual relations: if it’s consensual and not hurting anyone, then it’s all good (v.8). However, having become born again believers in Jesus we are shown a higher standard of sexual morality (vv.9-10). The clear and cogent conclusion, then, is to not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness which lead only to judgement (vv.5-6).
Paul goes even further and says that it is shameful even to mention what goes on behind the closed doors of some people. He knows, however, that one day all will stand before the Lord in judgement (Revelation 20.11-15). A closed door and a secretive sexual encounter may feel thrilling here and now, but it will need to be accounted for.
It is, God says, sin. As such, it will need to be atoned for (read the book of Leviticus for more on this principle). By the grace of God Jesus offers to clear the record of your sin, to make atonement for it on your behalf (v.14). If this offer is refused, you and I will most certainly pay the price for our own sin (Revelation 20.13).
Sin and its consequences are serious, but so is the substitutionary atonement Jesus offers.